Texas Rotarians tally big win against polio
Top: Zahir Tanin, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, at the End Polio Now event at the Texas Rangers baseball game in Arlington, Texas, USA. Photo courtesy of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club
Bottom: A group of Texas Rotarians and guests at the Texas Rangers ballpark: Dub Hirst, president of the Rotary Club of Arlington Sunrise; Rozelle Gilman; Past District 5810 Governor Richard Gilman; Ambassador Tanin; Zarghoona Sediq Tanin; Virginia Lackey; District 5790 Governor Hollis Lackey, Highland Village Rotarian Reyna Castillo, and McLucas. Photo courtesy of Christopher McLucas
Rotarians in districts 5790 and 5810 (Texas, USA) took a “think globally, act locally” approach to raising funds for polio eradication and public awareness of the disease last month.
Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zahir Tanin, spoke at an End Polio Now dinner in Arlington on 24 August. Vice Consul Jagdeep Kapoor, of the Consulate General of India in Houston, also attended the event, which featured a presentation on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and drew 82 Rotarians and guests, raising $26,500 for PolioPlus.
“Polio knows no national boundaries and neither should our work to eradicate it,” said Tanin. “The consequences of eradicating polio will extend far beyond the immediate health benefits. The procedures and tactics used can be a model for combating many other public health issues, ranging from cholera to malaria and even HIV/AIDS. The end of polio will also mark the beginning of a new era in public health.”
The following night, the Rotarians sponsored an End Polio Now event at a Texas Rangers baseball game with the Minnesota Twins. The event began with a pregame party outside the ballpark, which netted $2,350 through the sales of food and beverages donated by local businesses.
Twelve hundred Rotarians and guests purchased tickets to the game itself, with $10 per ticket earmarked for PolioPlus, which raised another $12,000. Ambassador Tanin threw out the ceremonial first pitch and remained on the mound as the game’s announcer gave highlights of the polio eradication initiative, noting the role being played by Rotarians around the world.
All told, the weekend’s events, along with subsequent contributions, raised $42,400 for PolioPlus. As an incentive to contribute, each Rotarian who gave at least $100 received matching Rotary Foundation recognition points.
District 5790 Assistant Governor Christopher McLucas, who helped organize the events, has participated in National Immunization Days in the world’s remaining polio-endemic countries -- Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria -- as well as in India.
“One of the key things that I learned was that the fight to eradicate polio has not ended. And although we are fighting a good fight, we need to renew our sense of purpose in the eradication of the disease,” said McLucas. “The people, including Rotarians, that I met are committed to the eradication of polio in their respective countries and need the support of the Rotarians in the world.”